Memphis Men's Basketball & Penny Hardaway Hit With Strict NCAA Violations

The Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) investigation into the Memphis athletic department revealed Saturday that the school is facing at least four Level I and two Level II violations.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the amended notice of allegations outlines seven separate violations taking place between May 2019-February 2021. Memphis men's basketball head coach Penny Hardaway is charged with involvement in one Level I violation and two Level II violations, the strictest of the NCAA's four-level violation structure.

Hardaway is alleged to have "failed to demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the men's basketball program." The allegations stem from Hardaway's handling of now Warriors center James Wiseman, when the once highly-touted prospect committed to Memphis.

Although Hardaway wasn't hired by his alma mater until March 2018, the NCAA determined that he paid Wiseman's mother, Donzaleigh Artis, $11,500 in the summer of 2017. Artis and Wiseman then moved from Nashville to Memphis, where he enrolled at East High School to play under Hardaway, who was the school's head coach at the time. Wiseman played in just three games during the 2019-20 season before he was suspended by the NCAA.

With Wiseman suiting up for the three games, however, the NCAA initiated its investigation. The IARP took control of the case on March 4, 2020. Furthermore, the amended notice of allegations charges that data from former assistant coach Mike Miller's computer hard drive was not preserved.

"A subsequent forensic examination revealed that the former assistant men’s basketball coach’s computer hard drive was formatted on June 5, 2020, and as a result, the data on the computer was deleted," the amended notice of allegations states. "The Institution failed to conduct an adequate investigation into why the computer’s hard drive was not preserved."

Hardaway, 50, came to terms in December 2020 with Memphis on a de facto contract extension that runs through April 2026. Per the amended memorandum of understanding obtained by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Hardaway acknowledges that "if he is found in violation of NCAA regulations, he shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in the provisions of the NCAA infractions process, including suspension without pay or termination of employment."

In four seasons as head coach, Hardaway has guided the Tigers to an 85-43 record and an NIT championship in 2020-21. Memphis made its first NCAA Tournament appearance under Hardaway this season, bowing out in the Second Round of the West region to Gonzaga.

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Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.